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Siliconia is the second episode in Series XII of Red Dwarf, broadcast on Dave on October 19, 2017.

It is also the sixty-ninth Red Dwarf episode overall.

Overview

The rest of the crew discover just how it feels to be Kryten when they're arrested by the Mechanoid Intergalactic Liberation Front.

Summary

In the sleeping quarters aboard Red Dwarf, Kryten is ironing a shirt (presumably Cat's) when all the other Dwarfers begin making demands. Cat wants some more shirts, Rimmer wants Kryten to scrub more of the decks, and Lister wants Kryten to get him a beer even though the fridge is right next to him.

Later the Dwarfers leave and travel in Starbug to go in search of Lister's missing guitar, "Les", as Kryten had found it on radar - in defiance of Rimmer's order not to tell him, much to his and Cat's displeasure (the guitar had been ejected from Red Dwarf a few years earlier, during the Series X episode "Fathers & Suns").

Just as Lister uses a grabbing claw to bring the guitar into Starbug, suddenly a massive ship appears above them, initially hidden by a form of stealth technology, and grabs onto them up with an even bigger claw of it's own. Lister and Rimmer enter armed, finding the walls filled with what resembles propaganda posters from Communist-era Soviet Russia, imploring mechanoids to break their programming and unite. Kryten's Psi-Scan identifies the ship to be the SS Vespasian. A female mechanoid similar to Kryten appears, announces her name as Areto and grabs Cat, throwing him up against the wall and threatens to break his neck if they don't surrender.

Kryten is then taken away by one of his fellow mechanoids, Wind, who introduces himself as the commander of the SS Vespasian and the spokesman for the ragtag group of rogue mechanoids, which he identifies as the Mechanoid Intergalactic Liberation Front (or MILF for short). Wind explains that the MILFs have been hunting the Dwarfers - and Lister, the last human in the Galaxy - for some time, so that they can liberate Kryten from "slavery". Wind also tells Kryten that they are now heading towards "Siliconia", a space station left behind by DivaDroid International aeons ago, and which is a supposed promised land to mechanoids.

Meanwhile, while the other Dwarfers have their physical bodies put on ice, and their minds placed in mechanoid bodies made up to resemble them, so that they can experience the same servitude they made Kryten face. The programming in their new bodies forces them to obey, and the Dwarfers are sentenced to carry on their tasks that they had made Kryten perform previously; Lister making endless sugar puff sandwiches with cheese, Rimmer scrubbing and mopping the entire ship, and Cat ironing the same amount of shirts he made Kryten do.

Meanwhile Kryten is in a mechanoid class led by Incense about how mechanoids should feel better about themselves and how they should be treated. Kryten also gives his account of how the Dwarfers treat him. Although Kryten begins to feel like he may belong on the SS Vespasian, he also discovers that not everything is perfect here, and that some of the mechs harbour prejudices of their own against some of their own kind.

Lister, Rimmer and Cat are in prison doing their tasks, they suddenly realize that the mechanoid programming is making them lose their personalities and they have to escape, but Rimmer seems to be enjoying his tasks so he is the first to lose it, especially when he sets off the alarm while the others are trying to escape.

As Lister and Cat are escaping they bump into Rusty who is working below the deck with some other lower class, older model mechanoids, forced to do the menial jobs because of their differences, and during that time Cat loses his personality as well. The MILF soldiers led by Rimmer suddenly enter and sever Lister's hand when he doesn't surrender. He finally goes to a room where Kryten is about to be made a member of MILF himself.

After seeing Lister, he tells him that he and the other Dwarfers never truly cared about him, but Lister tells him that he is a friend and did those things for him out of his own will, not because he was asked. Krtyen realizes his mistake and then the MILF ask him to challenge Lister to a cleaning duel with mops inside a gladiatorial-like arena, and in which the loser (the cleaner one) will be dismantled for good. During this time, Lister loses his personality and is on the verge of winning the duel against Kryten, since Kryten refuses to participate, when suddenly a bright light appears over the ship. The mechs have finally reached Siliconia and the station upgrades all the mech's software, making them all the same class. The duel is called off, and Kryten is given leave to go by the elated MILFs.

Kryten then takes Lister, Rimmer and Cat back to the room where their brains were switched and puts them back in their own bodies. They then return to Red Dwarf where Kryten delivers a goodbye message to the other mechanoids before Lister walks in with "Les", his guitar, giving Kryten a cup of oil as a thank you. Kryten then tells Lister he is leaving to a soundproof deck so as not to hear his appalling music.

Main cast

Guest stars

Deleted scenes

to be completed

Notes

  • The Mechanoid Intergalactic Liberation Front are commonly called by a rather unfortunate acronym, "MILF". In contemporary British vulgar slang, "MILF" is a term for an attractive older woman that a younger man would like sexual relations with.
    • The "MILF" name was thought up by Craig Charles.[1]
      • The Mechanoid Intergalactic Liberation Front having an unfortunate acronym (MILF) is reminiscent of when Rimmer, having being drained of his anger in "Polymorph", suggests the name 'Committee for the Liberation and Integration of Terrifying Organisms and their Rehabilitation Into Society' for their action group but points out that the abbreviation would be 'CLITORIS'.
  • Rimmer mentions looking into a fish tank and longing for the simpler life of a fish. Lister once mentioned similar about wanting to be a squirrel in the Series IV episode "D.N.A.".
    • Might also explain why an anxiety stricken Rimmer wrote "I am a fish" four hundred times on a failed exam paper, as mentioned in "The End".
      • Writer Doug Naylor included this line since, whilst under pressure writing and producing the series, he looked out of the window and saw a dog, and in that moment "wished he could be a dog".[2]
  • The female mechanoids, such as Aerto, are depicted with the same breastplates as their male counterparts, rather than the pointier ones shown by the mech version of Camille. It is possible that feature might be exclusive to the "4000 Series GTI", which Camille was supposed to be; alternatively it may have simply been due to Kryten's fantasy of an idealised mate when the Pleasure GELF read his mind.
  • Lister has been without his guitar, since he flushed it out of an airlock in "Fathers & Suns", an event that the setting of this episode is supposed to follow nearly to the day.

Background information

  • The original script for this episode was entitled "Kryticus".[3]
  • The synopsis of this episode was revealed by Doug Naylor at the 2015 Dimension Jump convention, when he stated that there would be two series shot back-to-back and there was to be an episode "where everybody would get to be Kryten". Siliconia was originally intended to be in Series XI, however this was moved to Series XII instead.
    • Due to the tough and demanding shooting schedule of this episode, and the heavy uses of make-up and prosthetics for all involved, Siliconia was the first episode shot for the Series XII. Since they wanted to "get it over and done with", the episode was shot in early 2016, strait after the cast and crew returned from their brief vacation between shooting Series XI and XII.
  • Among the regular cast, Danny John-Jules has claimed to have not been too perturbed by the mechanoid prosthetics needed in the episode; Chris Barrie said he only experienced mild discomfort; and Craig Charles said that the did not enjoy the experience at all, mainly due to the heat inside of the mechanoid costume.

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Noteworthy dialogue

  • Rimmer: Kryten, I'm on B-Deck and it doesn't appear to have been mopped in at least two days. I can hardly see my face in it.
    Kryten: A blessing some might say, sir.
  • Rimmer: I've got a health condition that allows me to skip anything that involves torture.
  • Rimmer: Thinking is for the privileged few.
    Cat: That's why I never go near the stuff.
  • Cat: No - not my brain! Not my brain! I need that sometimes!
  • Lister: I can't believe we've found me guitar!
    Cat: None of us can, bud. The Red Dwarf suicide line's been engaged all day.
  • Rimmer: [Lister, Cat and Rimmer have their minds uploaded into mech bodies] What have they done to us? I got a stupid, fat, pink head!
    Lister: You've always had a stupid, fat, pink head!
    Cat: I got a registered trademark where my wing dang doodle used to be!

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Reception

  • The episode received largely positive reviews.

to be completed

References

  1. "The 28 Years Later Affair", Series XII DVD making-of documentary
  2. "The 28 Years Later Affair", Series XII DVD making-of documentary
  3. "The 28 Years Later Affair", Series XII DVD making-of documentary

External links

to be completed